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Joined: Sep 04, 2008
Posts: 1344
Location: NE Tucson

PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 8:26 am Reply with quote Back to top

Found a killer deal on a Giant Anthem that was previously a demo bike over the weekend. The Anthem is Giant's XC race full suspension bike, with four inches travel, a 69 degree head angle, and short chainstays. I gave it some new tires, grips, and bars and took it out to Honeybee Canyon for its first ride yesterday.

My main ride for the last three or so years has been a 2011 Giant Reign X, with 6.7 inches travel front and rear,26 inch wheels, and a 66 degree head angle.

After the first ride, I felt pretty stoked at the anthems handling. The smooth undulating trail at Honeybee Canyon is primarily buffed hardpack with a few stutter sections, gradual climbs, and fun swoopy descending. The Anthem felt LOWER and STIFFER than my Reign, with a lower bottom bracket, lower handle bars. The bar drop between the two is pretty similar, weight bias on the anthem is more towards the front. It felt really nice out of the saddle with the lower bars making cornering the banked turns a much more connected experience. When things got chattery, at speed, the reign always sucks it up without drama. The Anthem less so, but at speed it whapped thru most sections with more stutter..

THe 27.5 wheels look bigger, but feel real similar to 26. The Anthem corners differently, but how wheel size affects thiss independent to the steeper angles and forward weight bias is impossible to tell for me.. I would say the bike feels really stable, not nervous or twitchy. Having less travel makes popping off berms a lot easier, with the lighter bike and less travel feeling nice and snappy.

I will still pick the Reign for rocky trails, like Starr Pass, Robles, even Sweetwater. I built the reign to tackle gnar like Miagrosa, and Lemmon Trails in general. The Reign climbs well, as long as you can stay seated. Getting out of the saddle is smooshy and hard to manage on the Reign. But spinning along, the Maestro suspension does a great job of transfering power, even with all the travel in the back...

Here is a few pics of the two bikes, for geo comparisons, these arent my bikes just pics from the web:

2014 Giant Anthem

2011 Giant Reign

More Group rides near Tucson: http://www.meetup.com/Southern-Arizona-Mountain-Bike-Association/ 
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